Right way to feed your cattle

Take care when introducing cattle to grain and pelleted diets as there is risky of grain poisoning. The high starch content of most grains can result in grain poisoning. Lupin is the exception as it is low in starch.

Good security of grain stores and standing crops is necessary in order to avoid accidental poisoning. If you intend to turn stock onto stubble, it could be a wise precaution to feed some grain ahead of time, so that the rumen bacterial population becomes adapted to grain.

When stock are fed grain or any feed that has a high carbohydrate content, the feed must be presented gradually so that the animal’s rumen has time to adjust to the growing levels. There should likewise be a nominal amount of 10-20% roughage in any ration.

During the introductory phase to grain feeding, animals ought to be closely monitored. Diarrhea is oftentimes the first sign of mild grain poisoning, and if this is seen in several animals, the proportion of hay in the ration ought to be further

Some grains, as an example lupins, are safer to feed than others. Likewise, it’s less hazardous feed oats, which have a higher ratio of fibre to starch than does wheat.

When changing between different types, or even batches, of grains, and particularly when changing between batches of pellets, the new feed should be presented by ‘shandying’ it with the old and gradually increasing the proportion of the new feed over about 7 days.

When cattle are presented to a high-grain diet, they should be started on a ration consisting primarily of hay, with the percentage of grain being gradually increased over 2-3 weeks.

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